Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Fred Mitchell said yesterday that the arrest of three tourists who breached the emergency orders “is a terrible image for tourism in The Bahamas”.
A magistrate yesterday acquitted three American tourists of violating an emergency order by accessing a closed beach.
“The discharge today of three tourists in the magistrate’s court for violating the beach closure order is a major embarrassment for the government and was a colossal waste of time and resources of both the police and the courts,” Mitchell said in a statement.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis ordered beaches closed for the Independence Day weekend, as a measure to suppress the spread of COVID-19.
Mitchell said the situation is bad public relations for the country’s tourism industry.
“In any event it is a terrible image for tourism in The Bahamas,” he said.
“The tourism ministry must be having a fit.
“Needless to say, this trial will attract international attention.
“Tourists who visited The Bahamas because of its advertised sun, sand and sea tourism product were hauled before the courts for enjoying sun, sand and sea all because of a bad decision by a singular competent authority.
“This incident will do more harm than good to the country’s tourism product and brand, not to mention our international reputation.
“The PLP again calls on the competent authority to allow expert medical and scientific evidence to drive all of his decisions if he is to expect continued cooperation from an increasingly exasperated and frustrated public.”
The women, Rana Mohamed Kenawy, Marian Mohamed and Ikrane Kanane, of Boston, Massachusetts, were arrested by police yesterday.
A viral video of the women scaling the fence to Cabbage Beach on July 10 caused public outcry.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes threw out the case after Kenawy said a police officer, who was wearing brown, gave them permission to go on the beach.
Forbes said that the officers had given the visitors “tacit consent” and they could not be charged a violation of the law.
As a result, Forbes acquitted and discharged the women.